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Which Mayerling DVD to get?


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Hi, I'm going to see Mayerling for the first time in June and as I'm not familiar with the plot, I thought it might be a good idea to watch it on DVD first so when I go to see it live I'll have a reasonable idea of what's going on and who is who.

 

Have just had a look on amazon and noticed that there is quite a big price difference between the 1994 version with Irek Mukhamedov and the more recent one with Edward Watson. I'm dithering about whether to go for the cheaper option (this would be my natural impulse) or to pay much more for what would presumably be a clearer picture and, therefore, an easier viewing experience?

 

When I've seen ballets on film from earlier eras (early 80s and before), I've found the 'fuzziness' of the picture quite offputting and it all seems too distant and flat, somehow. I've got the Rojo/Acosa Romeo & Juliet and Manon DVDs and love how beautifully clear they are. Would a 1994 DVD be very different in terms of clarity or would there not be too much difference?

 

Or is one version so superior to the other that higher price or poorer quality picture doesn't matter?? Would be grateful for any opinions :)

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Hi Marieve.  It would indeed be an extremely good idea to watch the DVD first: it will save you from being totally lost as to who's who!

 

As for clarity, I do remember last time I rented the 94 version that it was a bit unclear by modern-day standards (but not to the extent of 80s recordings, I don't think), but then I only saw the 09 version in the cinema, so that's hardly a comparison (LOVEFILM gave me some garbage about how they couldn't stock the DVD for copyright reasons, or something, yet they stocked the Blu-Ray!  Didn't seem to make sense to me.) 

 

Anyway, if you perhaps only want to watch it once as a guide, what about renting it, either from your local library if they are enlightened enough to stock such things (mine is, I think) or on a trial from one of the online services? (I just chucked a load of LF trial vouchers in the bin yesterday because I could never find anyone to give them to!).  Then if you decide you like it enough, you could buy one or the other later.  That's usually what I do, especially with expensive ballet DVDs.

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I was just about to make the same point as Grand Tier Left.  And not only did MacMillan work with the dancers - he was particularly pleased to have Mukhamedov available for Rudolf - but he also worked with the director of the video.

 

I haven't seen the Watson version, either live or on video.  I'm really looking forward to seeing him in the upcoming revivials.

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Thanks for the advice and apologies for the late reply, got a very demanding toddler monopolising my attention!

 

Alison, I hadn't thought of the library but will see if they have it. My local one does have some ballet DVDs but they tend to be fairly old productions ie from 30 years ago or more but then again maybe you can request DVDs to be ordered in, the way you can with books :-/ Think you are right that it's worth renting rather than buying first - I regret buying the ABT Swan Lake because I found the set too garish and the whole production lacking in atmosphere. Have never felt any desire to watch it again after the first viewing!

 

Grand Tier Left and jm365, I will probably go for the 1994 version because it's easier to get hold of to rent as well as cheaper to buy but perhaps it's the better choice anyway if Kenneth Macmillan was personally involved :)

 

Really looking forward to seeing it both on DVD and for real!

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jm365....Ed Watson is brilliant at Rudolf.  In my very humble opinion I think he is this generation's best male interpreter of MacMillan, both technically and dramatically (well, perhaps excepting Romeo and DG).  I cannot wait to see him do Mayerling with Mara Galeazzi, as she is also a brilliant MacMillan dancer, and last time I saw them do this ballet together I was in awe by the end. The only Rudolf who ever made me cry, however, was Thiago Soares....my reaction was totally unexpected which made me blub even more!!  Can't wait to see him do this with Lauren...should be amazing. 

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Thiago was the best last time round. I try to see all interpretations, and I agree, he was the only one, who made me feel sorry for Rudolf, who let's face it, was not a particularly nice character.  Superb performances.  As for the DVDs, both are excellent and if you are new to Mayerling I don't think it matters too much which one you opt for. Mukhamedov was a definitive Rudolf and I wil never forget the power of his final performances and feel privileged to have seen them.  Ed Watson and Mara "meld" so they are special too. What is so interesting about Mayerling is that every Rudolf is so different, but the dancers who can act as well as dance, are the most powerful.

 

So interested to see that Bennet Gartside is going to perform the role now. It will be fascinating  to see his interpretation.

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